News / USA

US Postal Service Faces Financial Disaster

US Postal Service mailboxes are seen awaiting disposal September 1, 2011, in San Jose, California.
US Postal Service mailboxes are seen awaiting disposal September 1, 2011, in San Jose, California.
Elizabeth Lee

The United States Postal Service is in big financial trouble.   In the last ten years the agency has lost 50 percent of its mail volume. Billions of dollars have been lost and the trend is expected to continue.  By the end of September, the Postal Service will no longer be able to pay retiree health benefits.  The head of the postal service went before a Senate committee this week to ask lawmakers to allow the postal services to make some drastic changes.

There are more post offices in the United States than McDonalds, Starbucks and Walmart combined.  The Postal Service is also written into the U.S. Constitution.  For Lenroy Lee, the small North Long Beach post office just outside of Los Angeles is a vital part of his community.

"I know some of the employees in there. I see them a lot," said Lee.

But the North Long Beach post office, may soon close because it costs more to keep this building open than the revenue it generates.  In fact 15,000 post offices in similar financial situations across the United States will be reviewed and face possible closure within the next four years.

"It’s a bad thing," Lee added.  "It’s a local post office. We need something small in the community. A lot of people can’t get around to the bigger ones."

But a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, Richard Maher, says people have changed the way they communicate and do business.

"Instead of the mail they use the Internet. They receive and pay their bills online," Maher explained.  

Last year alone, the Postal Service lost $8.5 billion.  The agency projects another $10 billion in losses this year.  

"If the postal service was a regular business we would have already filed for bankruptcy and went through restructuring and reorganization," added Maher.

But because the postal service is a government agency, U.S. Congress has to approve many of the money saving changes proposed by Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe.  Before a Senate committee hearing recently, he requested permission to change the way the agency handles employee health benefits and pension plans.   Donahoe also asked to end Saturday mail deliveries.

"And by delivering five days a week to businesses and residents we feel we could save over three billion dollars annually," Maher explained.

In order to save the post office, Donahoe says the agency also needs to eliminate up to 220,000 jobs by 2015.  

This mail carrier has been with the postal service for 24 years.  She had thought it would give her financial security.

"When I first got it I was in my late 20s and I said 'Oh this is perfect. It allows us to buy a home, save money to do this and [send] the kids to college and so forth.' And now, because the way the economy is going and being pushed and changing things in the post office, I am going to retire early," she noted.

Even if Congress approves the changes, spokesman Richard Maher says the main mission of the Postal Service will remain the same.

"And we deliver to every business and every resident in the United States, but we will change and we have to change," said Maher.

Maher adds that many of the changes will be put in place as soon as Congress gives its approval.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs